Jusuf Nurkic is a beast. A Bosnian one at that, and someone who has won over the hearts of Rip City since his arrival in February 2017. The 7-footer has been mostly productive and always entertaining, and he found a way to enhance the latter despite falling to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, 115-107.
Following the loss, in which Nurk recorded six points (3-of-7), 11 rebounds, five assists and a block, tempers flared as players were exiting the floor. Iman Shumpert was the focal point:
This all started in the first quarter after a screen by Nurkic which led to Shump walking up on Nurkic. When Nurkic tried put his hands on Shumpert (couldn't' tell if he was trying to calm Shump down), he moved Nurkic's hands out the way.— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) January 15, 2019
You think that’s interesting? Check out what really got the Twitters up in arms:
Iman Shumpert standing outside of the Blazers locker room waiting…— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) January 15, 2019
Iman Shumpert postgame told us that he went to the Blazers locker room after the game to talk to Nurkic “to have a conversation between two men”— Jamie Hudson (@JamieHudsonNBCS) January 15, 2019
Oh my. We are almost one year to the day removed from a bizarre locker-room confrontation involving Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers. This is obviously unfortunate news for the NBA. The league, which has been through some bad boy eras before and isn’t looking to go back any time soon, wants the attention on the court and not its behind-the-scenes confrontations.
A Kings staffer—as crazy as this sounds for anyone who has followed KANGZ in recent years—did the right thing:
I believe it is worth noting: Before Iman Shumpert began his postgame availability, a team official told him "we don't need a viral moment" to Shumpert. Shumpert was animated while talking off the record with a national reporter before cameras came on, though.— Peter Socotch (@PSocotchNBCS) January 15, 2019
Unfortunately for Shumpert, the Kings, and the NBA, this man has officially gone viral, courtesy of Shump’s reported target:
Jusuf Nurkic on Iman Shumpert waiting for him near the visiting locker room after the game: “I’m not worried about it. He’s going into retirement soon. I just said what I said. I‘m not worried about a guy who’s going into retirement soon.”— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 15, 2019
Jusuf Nurkic just took a body, and it wasn’t pretty. Shumpert, who to his credit has a championship ring to his name, is mostly known for his days on bad New York Knicks teams and failing to live up to the “one man’s trash, another man’s treasure” meme JR Smith himself shared with the world after joining LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers:
The worst part about it? Nurk might not be wrong. Shumpert’s current 9.4 points per game is a career high, but when the inevitable happens and he’s off the Kings’ roster (so Sacramento can build a team with the collective career arc of De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley), what comes next? Is he a veteran enough presence to be a positive influence on another young locker room? Is he talented enough to land a spot on a contender as the 11th man?
Shumpert is 19 days older than Damian Lillard. Let that sink in. We’re not talking about Vince Carter or Dirk Nowitzki. Nurkic told a 28-year-old his days in the NBA are numbered.
Bosnian Beast? The 24-year-old is a stone-cold savage. And Rip City is here for it.
Shumpert keeps chirping after the game is over. Kevin Calabro goes full dad and is all of #RipCity right now, "You know, Iman Shumpert should just turn, go to the locker room, and enjoy the win."— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) January 15, 2019
Terry Stotts… not an Iman Shumpert fan… pic.twitter.com/7gTeGkMyYP— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) January 15, 2019